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A Developmental Study Of Alex In Kubricks A Clockwork Orange Essay

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A Developmental Study of Alex in Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange


Synopsis of A Clockwork Orange

     In A Clockwork Orange, the main character is that of a mildly young
child of 15 who, along with his fellow friends, or "Droogs", partake in evenings
of Ultra-Violence. Ultra Violence consists of random beatings, theft,
destruction, and rape. The main character, Alex, is the self-proclaimed leader
of the pack, and makes judgment on their actions pending on his mood. His Droogs
eventually find themselves under his direct rule, following his every word, and
decide to challenge his authority.
     The three Droogs (Dim, Georgie, and Pete) join Alex on his romp to a
local "fat farm" to pillage the goods therein. Inside, Alex stumbles upon the
owner of the resort, and after a length scuffle with her, ends up giving her a
blow to the head with a rather large, ceramic replica of an erect penis. When he
leaves the outer gates of the complex, Dim surprises him by smacking a milk
bottle against his face. His counterparts escape while little Alex is left
bleeding and blinded to deal with the police.
     Upon interrogation of Alex, he discovers that the blow he delivered to
the young lady was a fatal one. He is charged with first-degree murder and
sentenced to 14 years in prison. While there, he befriends the resident minister
and becomes a helper to his service. The minister, Alex soon discovers, is a
part in a new form of treatment that is trying to be implemented prisons to
help "cure" inmates from committing acts of violence. Through luck and
discussion with the higher officials in the prison, Alex is chose to be a guinea
pig for the experiment, and is sent to become "inoculated from violence".
     The treatment consisted of Alex being strapped down to a chair in front
of a cinema screen, having electrodes attached to his head, and being kept
focused by small pairs of clamps used to disable his ability to blink. This,
along with the injection of an experimental serum, is monitored whilst he views
movies of UltraViolence. The serum leaves him vulnerable to his surroundings,
which are destructive films, and induces such feelings of helplessness, fear,
and near-death paralysis, similar to that of drowning. Alex soon associates thi...


... middle of paper ...


...sounds of Beethoven were not intentional, thus not needing
reinforcement.
However, Alex's trauma could also be referred to as a Skinner approach to
treatment. Skinner's theory was that one could achieve a conditioned response by
giving the subject positive or negative reinforcement. In his experiments, a
mouse was put in a cage with nothing but a pressable button and a light. When
the bar was depressed, the light flashed and food was delivered into the cage.
If the mouse were dropped into a similar cage, it would be safe to assume that
it would retain the reaction to hit a bar and receive food. The conditioned
response was to hit the bar when hungry. The reinforcement was the food that was
provided by completing the response. In Alex's case, the reinforcement would be
the metal satisfaction of not going through with his violent needs when he is
subjected to violent surroundings.
In conclusion, the theories used as a basis behind Stanley Kubrik's A
Clockwork Orange, resemble that of the theories that came from the greater
thinkers of modern time. Alex, the guinea pig in this tale, is a classic example
of many psychologist's case studies, and could be analyzed differently from each.


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